Posts Tagged hospital

Creating a new voice

Creating a new voice

One morning in 2009 I was sitting in the psych ward, working out ways to kill myself, when something unexpected and creative happened to reawaken my lost hope.

I was being plagued by a terrifying voice in my head. I thought I was evil and had to be destroyed. The psychiatrist had ignored what I wanted and needed and was putting me back on medication and forcing me to stop my trauma therapy. I was despairing. In the midst of this seemingly inescapable torment, I was visited by someone who showed me a way out. Something unexpected, creative and new.

I wonder if there is anyone who could job-share with the judge? You know, so he’s not so alone? Could you create another voice to work with the Judge?

Trigger warning: This article talks about self-harm, suicide and child abuse, although it does not go into detail. It may be distressing for some people to read.

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The things I want don’t change when I’m unwell.

The things I want don't change when I'm unwell.

‘The service that was supposed to be there to help me was recreating my worst horrors. It breaks my heart.’
 
I was interviewed about my experience of compulsory treatment by The Age newspaper, for a story about Victoria’s new Independent Mental Health Advocacy service.

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Just a cry for help.

Just a cry for help.

There were many times in my past when I sought help at hospital emergency departments. Usually when I had self-harmed or was fearful of suicide.
 
And almost every time I felt the ire of medical staff who clearly viewed me as a time waster. I was someone less worthy of their time, skill and compassion than the other patients under their care.
 
So often we dismiss people’s pain by saying things like ‘just a cry for help’ or ‘just attention seeking’. This article explores the implications of these beliefs. It is a plea for greater compassion in mental health care.

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When I went down the rabbit hole: My beginnings of madness

When I went down the rabbit hole: My beginnings of madness

A first admission to a psychiatric ward is a startling experience. I am not sure that anyone ever expects to end up in the ‘looney bin’. Certainly I didn’t. This is a place reserved for other people, for properly crazy people.
 
As it turned out, most of my fellow patients were far removed from stereotypical nutters themselves. We crazy folks have many experiences and talents, but none of them sufficient to keep us out of the ward. I was to meet mathematicians, artists, musicians, an admiral, and several versions of Jesus. Mostly people were disappointingly and comfortingly normal.
 
Read this reflection on some of my first experiences of madness, and my first stay in a psychiatric hospital.

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